SBD/August 16, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Planned Women's Soccer League Would Look To Partner With Existing Female Leagues

Digital marketing firm POP President Bill Predmore would own Seattle team
A planned women's pro soccer league “would be separate from the two current women's leagues -- the W-League of the United Soccer Leagues, which features the Sounders Women, and the Women's Premier Soccer League -- but would hope to partner with them,” according to Joshua Mayers of the SEATTLE TIMES. Plans are “in place" to add a Seattle franchise in the new league. The newly-formed team in the city “would be owned by Bill Predmore, founder and president of POP, a Seattle-based digital marketing agency.” The league's focus “is on establishing a name and finalizing the involvement of more teams; four are in the final stages of joining, including one on the West Coast, and others are expected” (SEATTLE TIMES, 8/16). In Seattle, Kevin Dowd noted the new franchise “will not be a rebranded version of the Seattle Sounders of the USL W-League.” Predmore said, “The intent is to start a whole new franchise.” Questions have risen as to whether the city can “really support two women’s soccer franchises,” but Predmore said, “It’s hard to say. I’m hopeful that the town is big enough for two teams” (SEATTLEPI.com, 8/15).

BUDGET IS KEY: Former WPS Sky Blue FC President Thomas Hofstetter last week said that talks “are under way for an eight- or 10-team league that would begin play next year and include his club and teams in Boston, Chicago, Washington, Seattle, New York and other cities (including two more on the West Coast).” He said, “We’re talking teams with budgets of well under $1 million. If you want to build a professional league in the U.S., it has to grow organically. It’s all about staying power.” He added, “Our goal is to have national team players, but it’s all about budgets. We hope they would play in a new league, but they might not.” Hofstetter said that one advantage in Europe is that the “soccer federations in Germany, England, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden provide women’s teams (most of which are affiliated with men’s clubs) with financial support.” He said, “There’s nothing from the U.S. federation, nor will there ever be. I’m beyond that. It’s not an issue anymore. There is a market for women’s sports in America, but we have to accept that the level of professionalism might not be what we expect.” U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati Saturday said that he would “like to see the best American players stay home, which might mean working with yet another new league or trying to elevate semipro leagues like the W-League of the Women’s Premier Soccer League” (NYTIMES.com, 8/11).

LOOKING FOR AN UPGRADE: SI.com’s Grant Wahl wrote when the U.S. men did their most recent CBA with the USSF, “business class travel was one of the points they negotiated.” The U.S. women, by contrast, “do not have business-class travel as part of their CBA, but it likely will come up again when negotiations start for a new CBA this year.” Grant: “It will be interesting to see if the U.S. women's team plays hardball with the federation (and vice-versa) during upcoming CBA negotiations in the wake of their gold medal-winning performance” (SI.com, 8/15).
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